To improve learning and productivity, we must nurture wellbeing. This is the mission of Alan Simpson at 10architect, a specialist architecture and virtual reality practice that firmly believes the built environment should benefit its inhabitants.
In this pathway, Alan makes a case for the “wellbeing trinity” of light, view and colour, and how it positively affects the human experience.
10architect uses VR (virtual reality) software as part of its BIM environment, so clients and end-users can get inside the model and make better-informed decisions. This allows them to experience natural and artificial light, in varying intensity and temperatures, at different times of day and year; how orientation affects views out of the building; and how they respond to colour options.
Natural light is crucial to the way our bodies function. We synchronise biologically with the astronomical day via our circadian rhythms, and we need variations in frequency and intensity of light as the day progresses.
Sunlight supports the production of serotonin, combats seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and supercharges our creativity, productivity and learning ability.
Views are often an under-utilised design feature, that can operate beneficially on two levels. On one hand, they allow for orientation and clear navigation. On the other, they can help maintain emotional equilibrium, providing calm and inspiration.
Numerous empirical studies (Horsburgh 1995, Keep 1990) have demonstrated this in healthcare, for example, where views of nature were associated with faster recovery from operations, and reduced stress amongst staff.
Colour influences mood and emotion, and when used appropriately, can stimulate a desired user response. Colour psychology is well documented. Red is arousing, passionate and provocative; whereas green is balanced and calm, and promotes a sense of security.
Colour can have a profound effect on learning space design, for instance, where a drama studio might encourage a different response from users to a science laboratory.
We hope you’ve found this useful and enlightening. Use the buttons to move to another pathway, or sign up for more related content and CPD events.
Many thanks to Alan Simpson, the guests at Education: Design a Brighter Future (Manchester) and the team at 10architect’s Manchester office, where we filmed and collected this material in 2017.